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October 29, 1998 - Image 22

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-10-29

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9

The Michigan Daily - Electi

8B - The Michigan Daily - Election '98 - Thursday, October 29, 1998

V f °

'I feel that we've
done a lot'

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'Agovern
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The race to become Michigan'e governor

By Mike Spahn
Daily Staff Reporter
John Engler wants to keep his job. But when
you're governor of Michigan, it's not quite so
simple.
For eight years, the state has grown and
prospered, according to some people, under
the 1eader hip of EngLr. A strong economy,
so id schools and an improving env'ironment
are all cited by the governor as examples of his
v, CJ de :-
But success, like keeping the job in the state,
is t quite so simrple.
John Engler cent to Lansing brigh-eyed
and motivated at the ripe old age o i 22.
Then-representative Lngler quickly began
layding uit the poliical agenda that defines
him even today simproing public educa-
tine, loering taxes and creating jobs for cit-
And fistening to Eger, i's not hard to see
that he feels those goals have been achieved.
"We've been talking about what we've done
because I feel that we've done a lot," Engler
said in a recent interview with The Michigan
Daily.
Eingler said from day one that education is
his top priority.n
During his term, funding for education has
grown by 50 percent since 1990, and funding
for higher education has grown within that
budget.
In addition, the governor last year proposed
the Michigan Reads program, a new guideline
designed to ensure that all children can read by
the end of third grade.
"The state with the best schools wins,"
Engler said, echoing the State of the State
address he gave in January.
And Senate majority leader Dick
Posthumus, who is running with Engler for
lieutenant governor, sets forth a similar agen-
da.
"For the last 15 years, we've been focused"
on public education, Posthumus said. "It's
exciting to see that what we had as a goal is
now actually working."
Proposing and passing 24 tax cuts in eight
years warrants support, Engler argues. He said
the people of Michigan are better off now than
they were before he entered office, spending
their own money rather than sending it to

Lansing.
Engler also claims success in other areas,
including the environment and the rebuilding
of Michigan's roads.
Engler was the brains behind Proposal C, the
ballot proposal that would allow the state to
borrow $675 million to pay for various envi-
ronmental clean up programs.
And the transportation budget during the
past eight years has been significantly
increased, Engler adds.
Truth in sentencing legislation will go take
effect next year, but Egier believes reforms in
the state parole board already have aided in
reducing crime.
"We have been very firm that if you commit
the crime you're going to do the time, and
we've backed up ou polie and proecutors,"
egler said.
"I think the fact that now sex offenders are
now serving mirtually their entire ters has
really been cery helpful in specific crimes in
that area."
But t hese pol i les have not gone unchal-
lenged throughout his tenure, or this election.
Opponent Geoffrey Fieger assails Engler for
his continual program cutting, claiming that
the ystatFs bottom line is the dollar."
"Your interests are being sold out," Fieger
tells audiences about Engler's privatization of
some government departments.
"The effects of his policies are obscene. He
has no shame."
Fieger has called Engler an environmental
criminal, a bigot and a stupid man over the
past two months, but through it all Engler has
stood by his policies. Refusing to get into a
war of words with his opponent, Engler would
only say that Fieger has little else to base his
campaign on, so that is why Fieger consistent-
ly attacks the governor.
With EPlC/MRA polls showing Engler and
Posthumus ahead by 30 or more points, it
would be easy for them to get lazy.
Even Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside
Michigan Politics, said the race is over and the
only question is by how much Engler would
will.
But both men said they will work to the end
to ensure victory.
"Our biggest opponent is complacency,"
Posthumus said.

By Jason Stoffer
Daily Staff Reporter
Geoffrey Fieger is not your ordinary gubernator-
ial candidate.
He has made a habit of denouncing the current
Democratic party machine, alienating many leaders
in the process.
He repeatedly pokes fun at current Gov. John
Engler's weight and calls him a "brutal man."
Many voters, shel shocked by Fieger's unortho-
dox campaign tactics, have been left to wonder-
Is this guy for real?
Citizens gave Fieger a 61-percent "unfavorable"
rating in the latest survey by the Lansing-based
EPIC/MRA polling firm. Many teachers, uion
members and other traditionally Democratic con-
stituents say they are frustrated by the prospect of
another four years of Engler's leadership.
Pollsters, Fieger said, were incorrect in the
August primary elections and have missed the mark
again. Despite trailing Engler by 30 percentage
points, Fieger insists the sun is about to set on
Engler's governorship.
"Every pollster said 'go home Geoffrrey you're
rocking the boat,' but people came out and rocked
the vote," Fieger told University students at a cam-
pus rally last month. "We attracted voters who have
never voted before.
"For the first time people knew there could be a
government of, by and for the people," he said.
Fieger's platform is boldly liberal and he said his
immediate goal, if elected, would be to reverse
many of the conservative policies Engler imple-
mented during his two terms in office.
"I'd attempt to reopen the closed mental facilities,
reinstitute polluter pay laws and reconstitute the
Department of Natural Resources,"Fieger said dur-
ing a recent interview with The Michigan Daily. "I'd
repeal Act 112, which prevents public employees
from collective bargaining."
Democratic state House candidate John Hansen
said he chose to endorse Fieger after examining
each candidate's stance on education issues.
"If you listen to Engler talk about public educa-
tion, we agree on many things "said Hansen, who is
running for the seat from which current Rep. Mary
Schroer (D-Ann Arbor) has been term limited out of
the state legislature.

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Caricature cartoon for the Daily by David Meng

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